art“The best way to win someone’s trust is to tell the truth; clearly, forcefully, directly” -Stan

Newsroom - In The News

By Stan Rosenberg and Jim Welch

Massachusetts has consistently been a national leader in improving health care access and working to address high health care costs. We were the first state in the nation to provide near universal insurance coverage through health care reform legislation passed in 2006 and continue to pursue solutions to help drive costs down, such as those contained in legislation passed in 2012. These steps are a testament to the fact that as a Commonwealth we are willing to think creatively and boldly to achieve a healthcare system that works for all our residents.

Right now in the health care world there is a great deal of uncertainty and instability due to changes being considered at the federal level that would result in higher costs for seniors and children with disabilities, a loss of federal revenue for the state, and a reduction in payments for health care providers. It's unclear how such changes will impact the state's ability to deliver on its goal of universal access to quality, affordable health care. Without regard to what's happening in D.C., Massachusetts needs to continue to innovate and create a sustainable health care system for both our residents and our economy. Health care costs currently strain not only the state's budget, but also those of our businesses and families.

07-21-2017   In The News

A bill that would ban the use of all handheld electronics by drivers has passed the state Senate, and will now move onto the House where its passage remains uncertain.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, would make it illegal for drivers to hold a cellphone to make a call, access social media or use any camera functions on the phone. There are exceptions for tapping or swiping once to activate or deactivate hands-free mode or a voice command for navigation features, and for emergency calls.

Rosenberg said an amendment added to the bill will ensure that data is collected on the drivers who are fined, to make sure the law is being fairly and evenly applied — in other words, to ensure that profiling of drivers who are people of color or young does not occur.

06-30-2017   In The News

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday mandating protections for pregnant workers, an effort that came up short on Beacon Hill last session but now appears poised to become law.

The Senate passed the so-called Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 2093) filed by Sen. Joan Lovely by a 38-0 vote after about half an hour of debate.

"This legislation represents a shared commitment by both workers and businesses to support equal opportunities for pregnant women in the workplace," Lovely said in her introduction of the bill on the Senate floor. She added, "Pregnant women who need income but are not granted accommodations are often forced to continue working in hazardous conditions, risking their own health and the health of their pregnancy. By ensuring reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, we can help keep these women in their jobs and earning a paycheck, providing stability for countless families across the commonwealth."

06-30-2017   In The News

MASSACHUSETTS WAS RECENTLY ranked the number one state in the country by US News and World Report. This was no accident. It comes after decades of great effort by both the public and private sectors, working together, to build a robust economy and a high quality of life. While we excel in many areas, including high tech and health care, we also have room for improvement on many fronts, especially education.

Serious and sustained investments beginning now will make the difference between a student falling through society’s cracks or becoming a healthy, resilient adult helping to drive our economy. The Senate’s Kids First Initiative seeks to make the health, welfare, and education of our youngest residents the Commonwealth’s highest priority. We undertook a thorough evaluation of existing research on best practices and developed a practical blueprint for what we can do now, and in the years to come, even with our constrained fiscal forecast.

This year, the Senate Ways and Means Committee budget invests $34 million in new and targeted programming that supports the health, education, and welfare of our children. Our first priority is to dramatically increase the number of third-graders who are reading at grade level. Third-grade reading level is the greatest predictor of future success, with those students much more likely to stay in school, stay out of jail, and get good-paying jobs. Forty percent of third graders across the Commonwealth do not read at grade level, and that has been true for the last 15 years. The Senate is committed to implementing best practices to cut that percentage in half in 10 years with strategic investments that provide a 13 percent return, and save money in the future with lower unemployment and incarceration rates. Our long-term goal is to create and maintain a pathway to success for all students over time.

06-09-2017   In The News

Funding for the Opioid Task Force, programs to assist the homeless and the University of Massachusetts is included in the Senate budget approved by a unanimous 38-0 vote Thursday night.

The Senate’s fiscal 2018 budget, which focuses on public education from early childhood through college and includes a series of initiatives aimed at promoting affordable housing and environmental protection, will next have to be reconciled with the budget adopted by the House of Representatives in April.

That reconciled budget will then be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg sponsored an amendment that ensures the Franklin County Opioid Task Force, based in the newly opened Franklin County Justice Center, will receive $300,000 and continue its work to help those struggling with addition.

06-05-2017   In The News

The ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is among Obama’s first public appearances since leaving office. His speech Sunday will come just days after U.S. House Republicans passed a bill that would dismantle much of his signature health care law.

05-08-2017   In The News

Leaders from the Massachusetts Senate will be visiting Western Massachusetts for a day as part of a statewide listening tour.

The Commonwealth Conversations tour will come to the region on March 28.

"We must continue to hear directly from the people of the Commonwealth in their communities about their hopes for the future," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, in a statement.

03-24-2017   In The News

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to participate in a national arts advocacy event.

Rosenberg is joining Americans for the Arts for their National Arts Action Summit Monday and Tuesday.

The event comes days after President Donald Trump released a budget proposal that would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency that provides arts funding throughout the country.

03-20-2017   In The News

Just days before a long-awaited review of the Massachusetts criminal justice system is set to be released, several Democratic state senators on Thursday detailed their policy proposals for criminal justice reform, which they say will be a major priority this legislative session.

Legislative leaders commissioned the Council of State Governments Justice Center to analyze the state's criminal justice system as it pertains to incarceration, recidivism and supervision. The final report is due out on Tuesday.

Thursday's briefing included Democrats who have all worked on a broad array of reform measures, and are looking beyond the center's proposals.

02-17-2017   In The News

It’s been a long haul.

Last December, activists briefly disrupted a meeting of legislative leaders in protest of a criminal justice reform push they said wouldn’t go far enough to ameliorate racial disparities in sentencing and reduce the number of non-violent offenders serving hard time.

In January, Second Suffolk District Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz called out legislative leadership during a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial breakfast in which she made a forceful plea for action on substantive reforms.

02-10-2017   In The News

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